SPAIN will overtake France as Europe’s high-speed rail superpower following the looming launch of the Madrid-Valencia AVE line.
The line, due to open on December 18, will increase Spain’s high-speed network to 2,000 kilometres, putting it behind only China and Japan globally.
France has 1,900 kilometres and Germany 1,300. UK is well behind with a petty 108 kilometres.
According to consultancy Accenture the six billion euro Madrid-Valencia line will create 136,000 jobs.
Critics, however, are saying the project’s cost is unjustified in the current economic climate.
From 2012 Andalucian residents will be able to travel on AVE all the way to France and onwards across Europe but plans to extend the network to Portugal have been shelved.